Root River Roundup 2019

I didn't get around to writing this report until one year later, so if you want to add anything - photos or stories, send me a PM and I'll add it!


The 18th annual Root River Roundup was held May 10-12, 2019 and centered around the wonderful Eagle Cliff Campground near Lanesboro, Minnesota.  As always, a great time was had and the river provided us with new surprises.  


click on images to enlarge

Always nice to see a welcome message from the Campground.  

The 2019 Friday Flotilla prepares to launch.  This would be a great trip down the quick river with a few new paddlers.  Gorgeous day for a float trip!  A tree hazard had fallen and blocked the righthand approach to our favorite island pit stop.  Beware next time.


Rich fishes above the logjam.


Photos snapped as paddlers floated by the campsites.



These two, who I believe were brothers, drove all the way up from Mississippi.  I can't recall their names at the moment but one of them caught a spotted sucker which was the only one caught this year.  He caught it right below the camp in the usual area.

Back at camp, everybody was enjoying great weather and the fish were biting very well.  




Right at dusk, Citylimits hooked into a monster.  I wasn't there for the battle, but I imagine it was intense and covered a lot of shoreline with tense moments in the fast water.  This awesome lake sturgeon was 51" and a PB for her at the time.

Saturday morning was pretty chilly, but everybody was pumped for the noon Species Derby.  Lots of nice fish were caught in the morning, and I know Rich put 3 nice trout on a stringer.  Soon it was time to pick up your official Roundup shirt, and register for the 3 hour derby.  The Prize Table soon showed an impressive collection that each contestant had contributed.


At High Noon, everybody scrambled to find a good spot to fish.  The campround was empty!

A few derby photos - 


There were lots of cool catches brought in by folks during the Derby, but Sam's 53" Lake Sturgeon was the most impressive!


At the end of three hours , every angler registered their catches with the Judges.  A canopy was set up because of a late derby rain squall.

It ended up in a 7-way tie with each angler catching 5 different species.  There was to be a sudden death fish-off down at The Bend to determine this year's Champ. 


Fish-off competitors heading to The Bend

Fierce sudden death fish-off with a crowd of onlookers


Wrecked Angler reeled in a shorthead redhorse and became 2019 Species Derby Champion!  


He took home the Silver Redhorse traveling trophy and a special Medallion created by Dutch.


The Champ chose a piece of Roughfish art created by Shovelnoser47 for his prize!


After the Derby, we Feast!  Even without Frymaster Mongrel there, we had lots of help and deep-fried sucker balls were cranked out.  A helpful fryer named Travis delivered a plate of fried smelt, too.  Sorry to say unless you were at the table within 30 seconds, you missed out.  They were a delicacy!



There were outhouse rules.


After the meal, fishing continued around camp.


At dusk, the Root River was going to give another surprise.  UpperMI Roughangler hooked a fish and fought it for a while before a crowd gathered.  He had something big on the line.  The angler battled this fish over 100 yards downstream, from just below the tents to the tail of The Bend. 


At this point, the fish became wrapped around a submerged log and without hesitation Gelunumber1 took off his sweatshirt and dove into the river.  He was underwater for a few tense seconds before coming up saying, "He's FREE!".  


A short time later, the fish was landed.  What a beast!  I think the fight lasted close to an hour.  


Also at dusk, a nice quillback was caught by space monki.

Night time came and some folks fished.  Wrecked Angler caught a pair of quillbacks and space monki caught another one too.  Others caught only stonecats.


Well, that's all I got.  Next time I won't wait a whole year before documenting the event.  Was a fantastic time with great folks on an awesome river.


Right now, we should all be getting ready to make the annual pilgrimage to the Root River.  Roundup 2020 was scheduled for the coming weekend.  We should be picking up supplies, catching nightcrawlers and freshening up our spools.  We should be looking forward to deep fried sucker balls.  Setting our tent along the river and crawling in to be lulled to sleep by The Root River's whisper.  Sitting around a roaring bonfire enjoying a beer and having interesting conversations with good friends you don't get to see often enough.  We should be presenting a crawler to a big silver redhorse as it saunters onto the wide run below camp.  Should be hoping for a spotted sucker to bite or waking early to catch trout.  We should be sitting next to an old friend and catching up on Life while we wait for a bite and the white-throated sparrows sing into the evening.  Should be wondering what surprises the Root River will have in store for you.  We should be afraid of a visit by Bagman on a dark riverside Midnight.


But we can't right now.  COVID-19 has forced us to cancel Roundup 2020.   Hopefully reading this report and seeing all of the photos makes you happy and will help fill the void a little bit this week.  I will miss all of you, and hope to see you down on the Root in May of 2021.  Let's make next year the best Roundup ever!







Species Covered:


Corey's picture

Next year I am hoping we can get set up to tag some sturgeon and also possibly take fin rays for microchemistry analysis. By analyzing the Strontium/Calcium ratios in fin rays, they can determine which major river systems the fish lived in throughout their lives. For the fish in the Root, it's likely that they migrated there from a significant distance, and it would be interesting to see if we can find out where.

Eric Kol's picture

It was great fishing 2019. Hopefully in 2021 all the pent up angler energy and mojo will drawn in vast nu

bers of spotted suckers, hungry and gullible spotted suckers 

Carpy Diem!

Jason E.'s picture

It was super-awesome to see those two huge sturgeon get landed.  I'm gonna miss the roundup so bad this year.